Saturday, May 21, 2005

Good morning America!

To quote Steppenwolf, "America, where are you now? Your country needs you more than ever...." In flipping through the news this morn, and then hitting the chat rooms attached to those stories, I am amazed at what some people say. Based on the respondents, Christianity is void of love, or kindness of any kind. And having gone over Pat Robertson in prior postings, what of the gospel did we hear from him? Nothing! I don't believe the Bible for good reasons. I used to. I spent 13 years in that quagmire. I was a charis-maniac funny-mentalist. I was climbing the leadership ladder, had all the prophecies to back me up, I was teaching from the pulpit and in classrooms, I was a rising star in the local church. I was going to be an apostle, I tell you what. And my dutiful wife was following me all the way. Not that we were into the obedience thing. I recall one story. A group of women were getting together, and my wife was invited. She said "Sure," she'd love to. They all looked at her. They said she needed to come ask me. She replied that I'd be fine with it. No, they said that whether she knew that or not was irrelevant. She needed to be submissive and ask, not tell me what she was going to do. So over she walks, and explains to me what just went down. I was stunned. We have never operated that way, and we didn't then. That's the way they still work. Crunch time came when my wife started having memories of abuse. There were plenty of those coming over to cast out demons, and claim this, that, or the other thing. That didn't help. I was getting confused. Jesus wasn't helping, and for years of course we had heard how evil psychologists and psychiatrists were. Those secular folks would undermine faith even. That's how satanic they were. Only one voice was dissenting in that church, and she told me to take my wife to the hospital. So I did. I went back the next day, armored to the hilt and ready for battle. These secularists were in for a fight with me. So I marched in and in the meeting I had with the doctor and nurse, asked what they were going to do to my wife. The nurse said, "Nothing." Whoa! Hit the brakes! What?! I pay good money for this hospital care, what do you mean nothing? The reality was, I was not prepared for that. They could only offer tools for my wife, and if she chose to use them, she would get better. If not, she wouldn't. Basically, it was my wife's choice. Hmm. More confusion. I wasn't expecting that either. So I laid my cards out on the table, they laid theirs out, and I slowly began to see that I had been lied to. At the very least, mislead. A faith undone by reasoning, was a faith of reasoning to begin with. So I began to look at the church, who now shunned us. The pastor of 13 years didn't show up for a visit. Nor the close friends. Apparently we had done the evil thing. My wife never went back, and after switching churches, I finall stopped going myself. By then I was seeing the pettyness of humans in their religiosity, and little of true power, and a whole lot of emotionalism. As the years have passed I have seen how I disregarded a whole lot of glaring examples of why the bull I was believing in wasn't true. Some were things I said myself! And boy do they sound stupid now. In all this time, the religious jingos have changed little. Maybe a bit more political today than we were on the local scale back then. But believing the same dumb shit and acting even worse. There is no room for gays. How can thatbe? What will win them: outlawing sodomy, which Dr. David Hagar forced his wife into, or loving them unconditionally? And since few are really doing that, I can conclude that the God of the Christian bible is impotent at least, or non-existant. A myth among many. What I do believe in is my fellow man. The ones who take a lot of crap from politicians, but in the end rise up and dispel them in the voting booth. Since the political jingos, henceforth pojings, realize that, we see the chicanery with electronic voting machines. So bravo to Vermont that outlawed the buggers. I had freinds where I live who had to vote three times before the machine recognized the correct candidate. I believe in the community of man. Their diversity, culture, and potential for ultimate realization makes this world a wonderful place. Not all folk are that nice, and usually it is the religious extremists who muck it up for everyone else. But love is bigger than all that. Bigger even than the christian god. They like to claim he is love, but lack any real evidence of that. So it's you and me, and our neighbors. We can solve our problems together, and grow as the human race into what we have the potential to be.

So a bit of a confession, and rambling post as I research PNAC. I need all the facts lined up so I can lay them out for you. Isn't that what telling the truth is all about?

Thursday, May 19, 2005

The PNAC - Who the hell are they?

A little bit 'o the green today!

PNAC stands for the Project for the New American Century. You can check them out at I first ran across the name when I was reading Weapons of Mass Deception by Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber. It's a good read, check it out. Anyway, I was a bit amazed at the audacity of the reports the PNAC were claimed to have put out. All this talk about controlling space, and cyberspace, and having a global army, and pumping up the military budget and killing the domestic one, and it really was when I began to open my eyes to what was going on in this administration.

According to the PNAC, it is a non-profit educational organization whose goal is to promote global American leadership. William Kristol, the NY Times columninst is the Chairman, and our friend John Bolton is one of the Directors. I'll add to this later. I have lots of notes!

Well, I have realized that the word is getting out about the PNAC, though slowly. One writer stated that it seemed the PNAC 2000 report titled, Rebuilding America's Defenses: Strategy, forces, and Resources for the New Century has replaced the Constitution as the guiding document. At least for this administration. And it may well be true. Let's look at some examples of what I mean.

First, let's consider the situation in Iraq. There has been a recent amendment in Congress named the Woolsey Amendment that was voted down. The amendment asked that there be a very open ended idea of a pull out from Iraq. It was ignored by the White House. Why? Because there is no intention to pull out the soldiers from Iraq. There is base building occurring there for a good reason. The above mentioned report states on page 14, "Indeed, the United States has for decades sought to play a more permanent role in [Persian] Gulf regional security. While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein." For decades, we as a people have sought that? I don't think so. This is a fine example of someone taking the liberty of speaking on your behalf, without your interest in mind. Not the word permanent. That is why there is no exit strategy. The immediate justification is the unresolved conflict with Iraq, and our wishes for an army there trump his regime. Remember, this is the year 2000, and John Bolton is a director at the PNAC, and members allegedly include Wolfowitz, Cheney, and Rumsfeld. Tie this into the Downing Street memo, and it becomes much clearer that the charge that Bush planned this invasion long preceded any action by Bin Laden.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

A religious dot...

Hope this missive finds you all living well despite the times. I really believe the Buddhists have something in their teaching on emptiness. It helps put things in perspective.

Anyway, another dot. How about Pat Robertson? You know, the former presidential candidate, founder of the Christian Broadcasting network, and current all around shill for the GOP? He's a dot you ask? Yes, though I think he is a token dot. I'll explain why.

First, Robertson is a mouthpiece of the Religious Rite. He was the one who declared in January 2004 that Bush would win in a blowout that November. He's also the one that went on Fox news on March 31 of this year, and made some rather incorrect statements. Then recently, he decided that judges in this country were worse than Nazis. So let's dissect some of these events and statements, shall we?

First, the "blowout." Robertson made this comment on the 700 Club, a show on his Christian Broadcasting network that he hosted for years. He claimed he had been in prayer for several days in the end of 2003, and he believed the Lord had spoken to him that Bush would win in a blowout, and that no matter what mistakes Bush made, or what Bush did good or bad, he would always be picked up by God because Bush is a man of prayer. So let's examine this.

Certainly there was blowout is respect to certain voter groups, and in some states. Wyoming, a rural state, was a 40% blowout for Bush. Texas was another one. So was Kansas. The urban areas were the support for Kerry. I would be interested in knowing what percentage of the rural voters are family farmers . What percentage of the land in these three states is farmed by conglomerates? And how those family farmers now feel about Bush after his recent budget slashed subsidies for the small farmers. Remember, the big ones are corporations who get tax breaks. In contrast, Florida was a blowout of a whole 5%. Some of the other southern states ranged in the 9% area. When all was said and done, Bush's "blowout" amounted to a total of 3%. In football, that's be a 21 to 20 score, which is hardly considered a blowout. Considering that in Bush's first presidential election, he didn't win popular vote at all, his record hardly constitutes a blowout. So it raises the question of how well Mr. Robertson hears God, or whether or not what Robertson is hearing is "God." Both have serious consequences, and since what he told us he was told from the Big Guy didn't happen, it then opens up the possibility that "God" was wrong! On the basic level though, it seriously undermines the credibility of Pat Robertson, and one would then wonder how it is that Christians ignore these realities.

On to the next example. On march 31 Robertson appeared on a FOX news show. I want you to notice how FOX overlooked this announcement by Robertson of a blowout, and continue to broadcast Robertson's shilling. And on the 31st, it was quite the shilling. The context of the times was when Terri Schiavo was such a media maiden, though in a persistent vegetative state. The crux was the husband wanted to disconnect her from all life support because he claimed that she stated she did not want to live that way. Essentially, that's their business. Right wingers don't think so. And the case over the years had made it's way through numerous courts that refused to get involved. They recognized it was a family matter, and nothing that state legislatures or the courts should be involved in. The Supreme Court, with judge Greer finally heard it, and he made the final statements. Appearing before Judge Greer was a "self-promoting" Dr. Hammesfahr. This man claimed to be a Nobel nominate. He did however offer no proof from anywhere that this was true. So, back to Robertson. On said FOX show, Robertson parades out who, but Dr. Himmelfarb? Not once, but twice. I can overlook once, but to get the name wrong twice?! Where are the fact checkers for these supposed news people? Then Mr. Robertson goes on to exclaim that Himmelfarb won the Nobel Prize! Whoa Pat! Not true! Completely wrong! But was he corrected? No! More later....

So again we have to question this guy's credibility as someone who claims to tell the truth. He not only grossly distorts it, he can't even get the name right! As for this "doctor", who on other conservative jingoist radio shows was hailed a s a Nobel "nominate", let's look at this supposed nomination. For one thing, it was Congressman Bilirakis from Florida that Nominated Hammesfahr. Ooops! If you cruise over to you'd discover a few things. First, politicians can't nominate for the Nobel prize in medicine. There are only about 3000 people who can world wide. Second, the Nobel Foundation keeps these nominations a secret for 50 years. And yet the con jingos are trumpeting this all over the media. Or were, being that Hammesfahr is no longer pertinent to their issue drive ideology. So the credibility of all those echo heads on radio and TV is now easy to doubt. How could so many so-called journalists get these facts wrong? Especially a Christian like Robertson? Ah, and the caboose is yet to come....

On May 1, Robertson appeared on ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos. George was referring to Robertson's latest book, in which Robertson claims that the "out of control" judiciary was worse than the Nazis and Japanese of WW2, the Civil War, and al Qaeda. It is Robertson's opinion that the erosion of the consensus that has held America together is worse "than a few bearded terrorist that fly into buildings." Robertson went on to say that the recent tsunami in Asia was a result of the laws of nature, and God wouldn't reverse those, but that God said to him that He was removing judges from the judiciary. I wonder if that's blowout style. Oh, and that Robertson was worried about a tyranny of the oligarchy. Well, where does one start?

Let's start with this supposed consensus. What Robertson is referring to is the belief that America is a Christian nation. Or at least was meant to be one, and their invoking of the founding fathers is meant to imply that. However, the founding fathers, like James Madison and Thomas Jefferson, were not at all like the fundamentalists like Robertson, Falwell, Dobson, Frist, and Scarborough. Their beliefs were what was called Deism. Which partly explains the lack of references to any form of god in the founding documents, save for the two references in the Declaration of Independence. Even there it is a reference to the "laws of nature" and "of Nature's God," and an equally "Creator." That's really rich and open phraseology. Not man's god. Nature's god. How many religions do you suppose have a creation/creator story? Most indigenous tribes do. In America that would involve at least several dozen potentially different stories and creators. Just what did they mean? Well, here's where the Religious Jingos (ReJings?) like to refer to, as Robertson did in the interview with Stephanopoulos, the "principles" of the Declaration of Independence, and the "principles that underlie" the Constitution. Robertson was saying that judges who believe like that should be in the judiciary. Later he contradicted his own book. His book states that he believes Christians are better qualified to serve as judges that Hindus or Muslims. When Stephanopoulos questioned him about that, he said he wouldn't make such a sweeping statement. Oh? Note where it starts though. Not the words or statements of the founding documents, but the very inferred and gray area "principles" of or those "underlying" the founding documents. In other words, they want the freedom to interpret the lives and writings of the founding fathers in their own way. To hell with what they directly said. One only needs to study the history of the Bill of Rights to see that the separation of church and state issue was one in which Jefferson and Madison were adamant. Keep them apart! This is the consensus that hold this country together. So let's step forward a bit in time. Lets look at the Barbary Treaty, specifically the treaty of Peace and Friendship of November 4 1796. In particular, Article 11. "As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion," - Whoa! Hit the brakes! What was that?!

Let's see. The declaration was signed in 1776? And the Barbary Treaty is in 1796. A whole 30 years. Signed by President Adams after being ratified by the Congress, with this language,...Not founded in any sense on the Christian religion...." I suppose the alternative to that is a complete lie, and that the US was capitulating to the Moors. Uh huh. Right. That's reasonable. What happened in 30 years to produce that statement? Or, should we ask, what didn't happen in 30 years, or at all, to produce that statement signed by the President and ratified by Congress. I suppose one could theorize a conspiracy against the Christians of the land. Sounds like a good martyr complex fabrication. Something Robertson would definitely claim, as he is today anyway. Or can we just take it at face value as true? That this document was accurate. That the US government, as laid out in the Constitution and Bill of Rights was in no way founded on the Christian religion. Where do these guys come up with this stuff? Well, that's another dot.

For now we'll finish up with Mr. Robertson's comments. I suppose we don't need to spend too much time wondering how Robertson reconciles a God that allows the laws of nature to kill hundreds of thousands without lifting a finger, but Himself is involved in removing judges from the American judiciary. Remember, this is the same god that told Robertson that Bush would win in a blowout, a statement that Stephanopoulos brought up and Robertson altered. Altering the words of his God. Seems like a slippery slope to me. At what point do we know what words are Robertsons, and which ones are his God's? Are they literal? Apparently a blowout in an election is the same as victory after victory in legislative matters. Sure. I see the connection....(Call the guys with the straight jacket)... What it boils down to is that the religious jingos practice the same spin on language that the political jingos do. There are no standards of definition, and no accountability. Pretty strange practices for a group that supposedly has the truth, and has a God of judgment.

And Robertson is worried about a tyranny of the oligarchy. I wonder if he knows what an oligarchy is. What is a main conservative complaint about liberal government? That's it too big! Too many bureaucracies! So how can that be an oligarchy?! However, this current administration is really narrowing the field in terms of ideology, and if you look at the current cast of characters, there is one over-riding connection: their involvement in the Project for a New American century - the PNAC. A select group if ever there was one. Which is far closer to oligarchic than anything liberals have come up. And giving family and friends government jobs is a two party practice from the beginning. So it seems that Robertson is a bit drafty in his thinking, unless he's afraid the Kennedy's will take over America. Which still means his thinking is drafty, but hell, hasn't that become obvious by now?

So just what is the PNAC? Stay tuned!